13 ways to survive working with Chronic Illness

30 Ways to.png

I have been a full time teacher with Chronic Migraine.

I have been a full time stay at home mom with Chronic Migraine. 

I am a full time mom and part time teacher with Chronic Migraine. 

They all are difficult jobs and adding a chronic illness makes life even more complicated and difficult.  

So the questions remains, how do you work while having Chronic Migraine?  How was I able to return to work

Image result for Work Stress Meme

  • Work part time

I only work a few days a week and seem to have letdown migraines on my days off.  I save time for self-care during those day.

Tip: Know time off policies and if a substitute is available

 

  • Find coworkers who support you

At my job that I missed a lot of time off, my boss was arrogant and my coworkers were judgmental.  With my new job, my coworkers are like a supportive family and my boss is loving and understanding.  This benefits the group because I’m not motivated to work out of judgment or consequences but out of commitment and love for the job and workers I call friends. I really have fun at work and love to be there.

Image result for Work BFF

  • Ask for and learn how to accommodate your needs 

I requested that my classroom be on the side of the building that does not get direct sun or heat.  I also have control over the lighting.  Heat and lights (fluorescent) are especially big triggers.  I use Axon Optics glasses on days I need extra light protection for my eyes.  I use other lotions, oils and natural products to treat myself topically.

  • Understand clients

I found that when I disclosed that I had Chronic Migraine to my boss at one job I was judged and at my current job she understood me better.  The same goes for clients.  As a teacher who was missing work, I sent home a letter explaining my chronic disease.  I found that the parents were very open and appreciated my honesty but I was unsure what the feedback would be.  Understanding the children and families I work for has allowed me to personally connect more.  I feel like my families want the best for me as I want the best for them and mutual respect once again motivates me.

Image result for client relationship Meme

  • Low stress, high reward

With a part time position, my stress has decreased tremendously.  I am able to focus on myself, my family and other aspects of my life other than my job.  Stress was my main factor in turning episodic to chronic.  I now have a handle on how to deal with stress and my priorities are different.  As a teacher without children and now with children, my views on teaching are very different. I have always had a passion for teaching and love children.  The reward is huge!!!  Being someone who is making a difference every day and seeing growth in my students is so rewarding. 

It gives me pure joy and joy is great medication! Find joy in your job.

Image result for work stress meme

  • Set realistic goals and expectations

Putting pressure on myself to be something I’m not only raises stress.  I have realistic ideas of what I can do, what I want to do and how I’m going to attain those goals.  Setting myself up for failure will only derail my treatment.  I set goals I know I can reach and am proud when I meet them.  A positive attitude and learning from the past allows me to move forward.

Image result for working with chronic disease Meme

  • Commute

Driving is extremely difficult with even a low grade migraine.  At my old job I had a longer commute and found that many days I was throwing up on the side of the road before and after work.  At times I liked it to decompress but most of the time was pained from the drive.  I now have a short drive that I can drive to with my eyes closed (don’t worry, I don’t but I could).

Image result for Long Commute Meme

  • Water, coffee and snacks

Caffeine can be a benefit or trigger.  Coffee  is beneficial to my migraines. During my morning of teaching, I drink coffee before the students arrive and drink a huge water bottle throughout my day.   As a class, we have scheduled potty breaks and snack time so we all get time to refuel. 

Image result for Morning Commute Meme

  • Sleep schedule

I wake up the same time every day whether I’m working or not.  I stay on a consistent sleep schedule in order to be refreshed and ready for my day.

Image result for sleep meme

  • Take breaks

When I feel a migraine raising, I get a bit panicked.  During my students specials I have the ability to take a break, focus, drink more coffee, or water.  Just allowing 10 minutes of quiet and focused breathing make a world of difference to my rising pain.

Image result for Dog Taking a Break Memes

  • Use flexible work time if possible

I am able to get a lot of my work done outside of the classroom.  I am also a busy mom and find that planning and prepping can be done once they go to bed.  Instead of staying late at school, I bring a lot of my work home and also plan ahead.  By being over prepared I am able to relieve stress.  If I’m sick in bed and worrying about work, I get sicker.  When I have everything done, being sick for days doesn’t stress me out about work because I know I’m prepared.  Planning and being prepared makes my life, in general, much easier.

  • Moving my body and distraction

There are days I go to school feeling sick and am completely consumed by my students.  The minute my students leave and all is quiet, the pain comes flooding back.  I’m so distracted and filled with endorphins while I’m at school that at the end of the day I’m punished more.  There have been days that I work till lunch and am in bed until the next day.  The distraction of a job that I love helps me get through many mornings.

Having a job that I am active in helps.  Stretching, dancing and moving keeps my body active.  I would not be unable to sit at a desk staring at a screen all day.  My body needs to move and my brain needs a break from technology.

Image result for stretching Meme

  • Money vs time

As a part time employee in the teaching field, you can imagine I’m not a millionaire.  Working salary and full time was not something I could keep up with.  Working part time, I do not make a lot of money but am able to do what I love with people I care for.  Sometimes money isn’t everything (although it pays for my medical expenses, so I really need it).

 

Image result for Preschool Teacher Memes

 With all of this said, I found a dream job.  Not everyone gets to work part time (either financially or in their field of interest).  Disability is difficult to get as a migraine sufferer and most jobs it is difficult to find balance.  Time off isn’t always possible without consequences and substitutes are not common. Falling behind on work is inevitable.  Finding coworkers that are friends is not a choice but a lucky draw.  The same goes for bosses.

All circumstances and lives are different.  I encourage you to find something you love.  Find a part time job, a job online, a job that can be flexible and a job that makes you happy.  Migraine is the definition of pain and unhappiness…..find something you love and makes you better.  Easier written than done, I know!!!

I, honestly, was not sure if I’d ever be able to go back to teaching with how severe my disease is.   I took a chance and it paid off.  I was very aware that it may not be possible, but I never let that deter me.  I tried it and it worked.  Not every job works but I’m so glad I took that leap.

Image result for working with chronic disease Meme

 

Advertisements

Runnin’ for Headache and Migraine Research 2017

 

Runnin' For Research Logo

Here it is….that time of year where the leaves are changing, the air is getting crisper and it’s time to donate.  During the Fall, I participate in many charity walks and Runnin’ for Research is one that makes me feel like I’m making a difference for my own cause

The last 2 years I have participated virtually.

2015

2016

Runnin’ for Research, Inc. (R4R), was founded in 2015 as a charitable organization dedicated to research, awareness, empowerment, and advocacy in all areas of headache and migraine disorders. The primary mechanism to accomplish the missions is the organization and implementation of 5K runs and walks throughout the United States.

Contributions to R4R are used to recruit, support, market, and manage local race events with all proceeds from these events being used to support the missions of the organization. In 2016, R4R completed three run/walk events, including Morgantown, West Virginia; Louisville, Kentucky; and Kansas City, Missouri. Donations totaling $48,000 were given to various organizations, including the American Migraine Foundation, National Headache Foundation, Migraine Research Foundation, American Brain Foundation, and the American Headache and Migraine Association. Other entities may be supported upon request if they align with the mission of R4R.”

Runnin’ for Research is now an independent 501(c)(3) organization. Their mission is to “To improve the quality of life of those who suffer with headache and migraine disorders through fundraising for quality research and the promotion of patient empowerment, community awareness, and local and national advocacy.”

r4r-site-banner2

How you can participate:

Check out the upcoming races

Runnin’ for Research will be run in Kansas City, MO September 30, 2017

Morgantown, WV, and Denver, CO on October 7, 2017

If you are unable to participate in those locations or aren’t able to “run for research” all donations are welcome and MUCH APPRECIATED!  A small donation goes a long way….

Thank You!!!

#MondayMotivation Less doing and more being

less doing more being

Today’s #MondayMotivation is a reminder to drop the “to do list” and focus on “being.”  I find this really, REALLY hard to do!!!!  I’m a mom, wife, teacher and migraine sufferer.  Where do I have time to just be?  With my migraines, I find I always have a list in my head to get done ahead of time preparing for a migraine.  I also have a list of things that accumulate while I have a migraine and am unable to do it. The list goes on…..

This week is the week before school.  My children are growing up so fast and my migraines make me miss so much! This week I’m going to focus on extending good night kisses, cuddling my babies longer, dancing more, being kinder to myself, letting go, being proud and getting lost in the moment.  I’m going to let go of the to do list while I have a migraine and not feel pressured to check off that list while I’m playing legos on the floor.

This seems nearly impossible, but I’m going to try! MUCH easier said than done……..

Please Excuse the advertisement at the end.  I do not endorse this product and have not tried it. Originally posted on https://www.facebook.com/SanctuarySpaHQ/?hc_ref=ARSUxEeI7tunSfT59ScNhKmrKl8DRKlmMzQ5dSkN7JuUesXNuMJ2HKkYXzKnv8WEjn4&fref=nf

Last year’s birthday and migraine motivation

IMG_7571

This week is my birthday! As I looked back at where I was last year, I was struggling but happy. I’m about the same but can say I’ve seen growth. I strengthened my time management this year and really focused on doing things that make me happier and healthier.

I started a new job that inspires me to feel better, gives me a new sense of purpose and the people there make me smile and laugh.  Being a teacher and changing lives is very motivating and the families I work with are incredible!

My Migraine Life has done a lot of great things and I’m very proud of my blog being so unique and well received. I had never read a blog when I began this journey and I’m proud that I created this community and am helping so many in my own way.

Please endorse My Migraine Life for Wego Health Awards. It’s a nice thank you for all my hard work!  Just go to the link and scroll to the thumbs up!

Endorse

I still have a lot of “bad days” and feel better knowing that on my less painful days I’m helping and teaching so many.  I’m using my good days for the good and that is the best I can do.  On those bad days…..I’ll “just keep swimming!”

Last year’s birthday post!

Migraine Awareness ChronicAlly box to relieve, relax and enjoy!

This month I got my Limited Edition Migraine Awareness ChronicAlly box.*  During the month of June, Migraine Awareness month, the box was offered to support Migraine Research Foundation.  I had treated myself to a 3 month subscription for June, July, and August.  My birthday is in August so “Happy Birthday to me!”  It’s been fun to receive a package made for comfort, support and with love.

migraine chronically.jpgThe box had something to use in a variety ways for My Migraine Life.

It included:

A sleep mask to block out the light.

An organic essential oil and electrolyte spray for pain and migraine relief

Headache and migraine relief roller for pressure points

Shower fizzie with lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint

Meditation unscented soy candle

I love it!  I’ll use the products to sleep, take a bath & shower, on the go and at home.  They are great “allies” for my headache and migraine needs! Check out all ChronicAlly has to offer here*

Featured Image -- 230

 

Don’t forget to endorse My Migraine Life for Wego Awards.  Please scroll down to the thumbs up and endorse for Best in Show: blog, Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.  Tweet and share on Facebook to let others know.  I appreciate you taking the time to say “Thank you!” and “Keep up the good work!”  It means a lot to be recognized for my hard work for the Migraine and Chronic Illness community.

 

*This post contains an affiliate link

Monday Motivation, yoga, ocean and active apparel sale

img_9167-2

After a long weekend of sunshine, I’m dreaming of the ocean!

Love my outfit?  I sport my pretty with Nina B. Roze.

LIMITED TIME OFFER – SALE ON BEST SELLERS!

Only a few available in each size/style. ALL SALE ITEMS ARE FINAL SALE! 

Shop now, they won’t be around long!!

Use code SARAH15

for an even bigger DISCOUNT at checkout!!!!

 

*By using code SARAH15 I will be compensated for recommending you.  My opinions are my own and my commission will go towards buying more NINA B ROZE, so thank you!  Together we will sport our pretty while taking steps towards better health 🙂

Response to “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

In Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” I believe she is speaking to everyone.  This  poem is an example of how she was able to touch so many in so many ways.  How could her grace, confidence, determination, intelligence, and quest for peace not touch you?  She speaks to all saying “still I rise.”  Everyone has a time, or a thousand, in their life where she needs to rise.  Her words speak sadness without pity and hope without abandonment.  Instead of focusing on all of the difficult obstacles that are brought about with chronic migraine, I want to focus on the positive.  I believe it is the point that Maya was trying to bring home.  Beyond the “broken, lies, defeat, cries, shame, pain, and fear” that life throws at us, there is “pride, life, courage, hope, and a dream.”  Ending with “naturally, there I go rising” is powerful.  The word “naturally” speaks to the human spirit.  I have been told countless times “I don’t know how you do it” in reference to my pain.  Naturally, I rise.  I rise, to laugh and dance again, like she says.  I rise to kiss my children and husband.  I rise to be the person I want to be instead of the person I am forced to be.  I rise as a big F.You to my pain (although I’m not sure if Maya would agree with my wording).  My choice is to allow it to consume me or rise.  I may not always have a choice to raise out of bed or out into the world but in the cold dark room I live, I remind myself, I too shall rise.  Thank you Maya for reminding us that it’s ok to have dark times.  Only then will you truly rise.